Key Votes

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Vote Smart provides easy access to congressional and state voting records and maintains a collection of key votes grouped by issue. Vote Smart uses the following criteria to select key votes:

  1. The vote should be helpful in portraying how a member stands on a particular issue
  2. The vote should be clear for any person to understand
  3. The vote has received media attention
  4. The vote was passed or defeated by a very close margin
  5. Occasionally, if a specific bill is consistently inquired about on the Voter's Research Hotline, the vote will be added

Vote Smart provides a summary of the version of the bill text associated with each selected key vote. Our summaries are written by Vote Smart's staff and interns, who adhere to our strict policies and procedures in order to guarantee absolute impartiality and accuracy. They do not necessarily reflect the content of the final version of the bill, but rather the version voted on in that stage. While many procedural votes take place before a full chamber vote, our voting stages reflect the final reading of each chamber vote. Each key vote selection is reviewed by the project's community of advisors, who are political scientists and journalists from all fifty states.

For more information about the legislative process, see here.


results per page:
Date State Bill No. Title Outcome
Dec. 18, 2013 National H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (64 - 36)
Nov. 21, 2013 National S 1197 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (51 - 44)
Nov. 19, 2013 National S Amdt 2255 Prohibits the Use of Funds for the Transfer or Release of Guantanamo Detainees Amendment Rejected - Senate (43 - 55)
Nov. 19, 2013 National S Amdt 2175 Authorizes the Use of Funds for the Transfer or Release of Guantanamo Detainees to the United States Amendment Rejected - Senate (52 - 46)
Nov. 7, 2013 National S 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (64 - 32)
Nov. 7, 2013 National S Amdt 2013 Exempts Religiously Affiliated Employers from the Prohibition on Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Amendment Rejected - Senate (43 - 55)
Nov. 4, 2013 National S 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 Cloture Invoked - Senate (61 - 30)
Oct. 29, 2013 National S J Res 26 A Joint Resolution Relating to the Disapproval of the President's Exercise of Authority to Suspend the Debt Limit, as Submitted Under Section 1002(b) of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 on October 17, 2013 Motion Rejected - Senate (45 - 54)
Oct. 16, 2013 National HR 2775 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Bill Passed - Senate (81 - 18)
Oct. 12, 2013 National S 1569 Default Prevention Act of 2013 Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (53 - 45)
Sept. 30, 2013 National H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Motion Agreed - Senate (54 - 46)
Sept. 30, 2013 National H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Motion Agreed - Senate (54 - 46)
Sept. 27, 2013 National H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Bill Passed - Senate (54 - 44)
July 24, 2013 National HR 1911 Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (81 - 18)
July 24, 2013 National S Amdt 1778 Limits Interest Rates for Certain Federal Student Loans Amendment Rejected - Senate (46 - 53)
June 27, 2013 National S 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Bill Passed - Senate (68 - 32)
June 18, 2013 National S Amdt 1197 Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border Amendment Rejected - Senate (39 - 54)
June 18, 2013 National S Amdt 1228 Requires US-VISIT System to be Established at Every Port of Entry Amendment Rejected - Senate (36 - 58)
June 11, 2013 National S 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Cloture Invoked - Senate (82 - 15)
June 10, 2013 National S 954 Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (66 - 27)
June 6, 2013 National S 1003 Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (40 - 57)
June 6, 2013 National S 953 Student Loan Affordability Act Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (51 - 46)
May 23, 2013 National S Amdt 953 Limits Subsidy Payments for Individuals with Incomes More Than $750,000 Amendment Adopted - Senate (59 - 33)
May 23, 2013 National S Amdt 923 Prohibits the Payment of the Premium for an Insurance Policy For Tobacco Amendment Rejected - Senate (44 - 52)
May 6, 2013 National S 743 Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (69 - 27)
April 25, 2013 National S 743 Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 Cloture Invoked - Senate (63 - 30)
April 17, 2013 National S Amdt 719 Authorizes Reciprocity for the Carrying of Certain Concealed Firearms Amendment Rejected - Senate (57 - 43)
April 17, 2013 National S Amdt 714 Limits Firearm Magazine Capacity Amendment Rejected - Senate (46 - 54)
April 17, 2013 National S Amdt 711 Prohibits the Sale of Assault Weapons Amendment Rejected - Senate (40 - 60)
April 17, 2013 National S Amdt 715 Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act Amendment Rejected - Senate (54 - 46)
March 23, 2013 National S Amdt 139 Prohibits the United States From Entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Amendment Adopted - Senate (53 - 46)
March 23, 2013 National S Con Res 8 An Original Concurrent Resolution Setting Forth the Congressional Budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2014, Revising the Appropriate Budgetary Levels for Fiscal Year 2013, and Setting Forth the Appropriate Budgetary Levels for Fiscal Years 2015 Through 2023 Joint Resolution Passed - Senate (50 - 49)
March 20, 2013 National HR 933 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (73 - 26)
March 14, 2013 National S Amdt 66 Temporarily Prohibits the Hiring of Nonessential Federal Employees Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 54)
March 13, 2013 National S Amdt 30 To Prohibit the Use of Funds to Carry Out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 52)
March 7, 2013 National PN 48 Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Nomination Confirmed - Senate (63 - 34)
Feb. 26, 2013 National PN 34 Nomination of Charles Timothy Hagel to be Secretary of Defense Nomination Confirmed - Senate (58 - 41)
Feb. 26, 2013 National PN 34 Nomination of Charles Timothy Hagel to be Secretary of Defense Cloture Invoked - Senate (71 - 27)
Feb. 14, 2013 National PN 34 Nomination of Charles Timothy Hagel to be Secretary of Defense Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (58 - 40)
Feb. 12, 2013 National S 47 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (78 - 22)
Jan. 31, 2013 National HR 325 No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (64 - 34)
Jan. 28, 2013 National HR 152 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (62 - 36)
Jan. 1, 2013 National HR 8 Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012 Bill Passed - Senate (89 - 8)
Date No. Title Outcome
12/18 H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (64 - 36)
11/21 S 1197 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (51 - 44)
11/19 S Amdt 2255 Prohibits the Use of Funds for the Transfer or Release of Guantanamo Detainees Amendment Rejected - Senate (43 - 55)
11/19 S Amdt 2175 Authorizes the Use of Funds for the Transfer or Release of Guantanamo Detainees to the United States Amendment Rejected - Senate (52 - 46)
11/07 S 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (64 - 32)
11/07 S Amdt 2013 Exempts Religiously Affiliated Employers from the Prohibition on Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Amendment Rejected - Senate (43 - 55)
11/04 S 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 Cloture Invoked - Senate (61 - 30)
10/29 S J Res 26 A Joint Resolution Relating to the Disapproval of the President's Exercise of Authority to Suspend the Debt Limit, as Submitted Under Section 1002(b) of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 on October 17, 2013 Motion Rejected - Senate (45 - 54)
10/16 HR 2775 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Bill Passed - Senate (81 - 18)
10/12 S 1569 Default Prevention Act of 2013 Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (53 - 45)
9/30 H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Motion Agreed - Senate (54 - 46)
9/30 H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Motion Agreed - Senate (54 - 46)
9/27 H J Res 59 Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Bill Passed - Senate (54 - 44)
7/24 HR 1911 Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (81 - 18)
7/24 S Amdt 1778 Limits Interest Rates for Certain Federal Student Loans Amendment Rejected - Senate (46 - 53)
6/27 S 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Bill Passed - Senate (68 - 32)
6/18 S Amdt 1197 Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border Amendment Rejected - Senate (39 - 54)
6/18 S Amdt 1228 Requires US-VISIT System to be Established at Every Port of Entry Amendment Rejected - Senate (36 - 58)
6/11 S 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Cloture Invoked - Senate (82 - 15)
6/10 S 954 Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (66 - 27)
6/06 S 1003 Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (40 - 57)
6/06 S 953 Student Loan Affordability Act Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (51 - 46)
5/23 S Amdt 953 Limits Subsidy Payments for Individuals with Incomes More Than $750,000 Amendment Adopted - Senate (59 - 33)
5/23 S Amdt 923 Prohibits the Payment of the Premium for an Insurance Policy For Tobacco Amendment Rejected - Senate (44 - 52)
5/06 S 743 Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (69 - 27)
4/25 S 743 Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 Cloture Invoked - Senate (63 - 30)
4/17 S Amdt 719 Authorizes Reciprocity for the Carrying of Certain Concealed Firearms Amendment Rejected - Senate (57 - 43)
4/17 S Amdt 714 Limits Firearm Magazine Capacity Amendment Rejected - Senate (46 - 54)
4/17 S Amdt 711 Prohibits the Sale of Assault Weapons Amendment Rejected - Senate (40 - 60)
4/17 S Amdt 715 Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act Amendment Rejected - Senate (54 - 46)
3/23 S Amdt 139 Prohibits the United States From Entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Amendment Adopted - Senate (53 - 46)
3/23 S Con Res 8 An Original Concurrent Resolution Setting Forth the Congressional Budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2014, Revising the Appropriate Budgetary Levels for Fiscal Year 2013, and Setting Forth the Appropriate Budgetary Levels for Fiscal Years 2015 Through 2023 Joint Resolution Passed - Senate (50 - 49)
3/20 HR 933 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (73 - 26)
3/14 S Amdt 66 Temporarily Prohibits the Hiring of Nonessential Federal Employees Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 54)
3/13 S Amdt 30 To Prohibit the Use of Funds to Carry Out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 52)
3/07 PN 48 Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Nomination Confirmed - Senate (63 - 34)
2/26 PN 34 Nomination of Charles Timothy Hagel to be Secretary of Defense Nomination Confirmed - Senate (58 - 41)
2/26 PN 34 Nomination of Charles Timothy Hagel to be Secretary of Defense Cloture Invoked - Senate (71 - 27)
2/14 PN 34 Nomination of Charles Timothy Hagel to be Secretary of Defense Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (58 - 40)
2/12 S 47 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (78 - 22)
1/31 HR 325 No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (64 - 34)
1/28 HR 152 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 Bill Passed - Senate (62 - 36)
1/01 HR 8 Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012 Bill Passed - Senate (89 - 8)

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